Interview with Michael Graeme

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the North West of England. I draw on my own experience when writing, though not in an autobiographical sense, just using those settings that are familiar to me - so the towns and the countryside in my novels are the England that I know.
When did you first start writing?
I began to enjoy creative writing when I was at secondary school, studying for my O Levels. I was writing my first novels from about the age of 17 or so.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Necessity. I've had some small success with placing shorter fiction in magazines, but trying to attract a publisher for my novels was impossible - and I tried for twenty years. It was suffocating. Becoming an independent author and being able to give my work away to an online readership was like breathing fresh air again.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
If you mean fame and fortune, it hasn't, and it won't. As indie authors we have to be realistic, be grateful for the readers, and not forget that we're writing because we're,... well,... writers. Smashwords is a brilliant platform that allows us to put our work out there. If you mean cutting out the usual middle men to publication - the publishers, the agents, Smashwords is vital.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Browsing a charity bookshop in an old English Market town, a place gone seriously to seed since the crash of 2008. We're all a little poor, disheartened, cheaply dressed, the more fortunate just scraping by, the rest sleeping rough and begging in doorways. You turn and glimpse a beautiful young woman, finely dressed, elegant, an apparition of alien loveliness. All of that is fact, what happens next is fiction.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Never knowing where it's going. I'll start with an opening scene and a few characters, maybe also a rough plan for the way ahead, but as soon as those characters start talking they end up driving the story in their own way. From then on I just take notes. And their way is always more interesting. I write primarily for myself, for my own pleasure. If others can enjoy it too, all the better.
What do your fans mean to you?
If by fans you mean those who have commented on my work or reviewed it, I'm very grateful they took the time. I do have six official fans on Goodreads, and I love them all. But seriously, my readership is something I imagine out there somewhere, and I hope I can always maintain a great respect for their intelligence, and deliver a story to them that's worth their trouble reading it.
Who are your favorite authors?
Of the past, I'd say Hardy, Orwell, Conrad and Mary Webb are the ones I've devoured in their entirety. Of the present Niall Williams, John LeCarre, Sebastian Faulks, Louis De Bernieres, Partic Harpur, JG Ballard, Sebastian Barry, Kurt Vonnegut and a dozen others I've yet to make the acquaintance of.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I walk the hills, I do Tai Chi and Qigong, I read, I draw, I think, I dream, I fix the house, mow the grass..
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Android smartphone running the Moonreader App. If I'm at home I'll use the iPad for the bigger screen, but the Smartphone is always with me, wherever I go, which means so is my library. People say the computer is killing reading, but I'm reading more now than I ever did.
Describe your desk
I don't have one. I use a laptop and work peripatetic fashion, settling down with it wherever I can.
How do you approach cover design?
I fiddle around with ideas for a graphic as the story progresses, then try things out on Paintshop. I prefer to do my own covers - it ties in with my love of drawing and painting - and it adds to the creative experience of my stories.
What are you working on next?
I'm not. Saving Grace is finished and out there. I'm going to take a year off from fiction but you'll still find me active on the blog. I've said that before though and something usually happens. I wake up and find myself already ten thousand words in and surrounded by the company of new and fascinating characters.
What is your writing process?
I begin with an opening scene, a handful of characters and a feeling for where I want the story to go. Beyond that I have no plan. Then I just start to write and the story begins to develop on its own - the dialogue and the situations unfolding by themselves. I'll draft out a couple of chapters this way, then go back and redraft. This gathers momentum for pushing the story out a little further, then redraft. Redraft. Redraft.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I don't market, beyond posting links to my stuff on my blog. Readers find my books, and sometimes they mail me to say so. I'm not aiming to be a big name author. I just like to write.
What do you read for pleasure?
I have a lot of fiction on the go at all times. I read anything - high or lowbrow. I browse the charity shops where books are cheap and I add to my "books to be read pile" on a weekly basis.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The memory of my mother's voice saying "get up, Michael, you die in bed." She had a point.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't read many ebooks. They're mostly self indulgent rubbish. ;)
Published 2018-12-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Saving Grace
Price: Free! Words: 103,430. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
When a beautiful young woman walks into Mike Garrat's bookshop, little does he know she's about to ruin his life, but since his life's not that great anyway maybe this isn't such a bad thing.
The Sea View Cafe
Price: Free! Words: 212,460. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Fleeing a toxic marriage and a job that's killing him, Finn winds up in the forgotten English seaside town of Carrickbar. The country is in pre-BREXIT crisis, and America has gone mad. Things don't look good, least of all for him. But he's about to meet Hermione Watts, owner of the Sea View Cafe, a woman with an eye for suffering and a heart ever ready to heal. If anyone can fix things, she can.
The Price of Being With Sunita
Price: Free! Words: 55,820. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Sunita's possibly the best thing that can ever happen to a man. She's the most beautiful, intelligent, mysterious, and life changing woman he's ever likely to meet, but strange things happen when she's around, and the longer you're with her the stranger they'll get. And not always in a good way.
By Fall of Night
Price: Free! Words: 163,880. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
When news breaks of an imminent asteroid strike, newly met lovers Tim and Rebecca find themselves with an unexpected front seat view of the end of the world. There's nothing anyone can do about it and it looks like the lucky ones will be those sitting right under the thing when it hits - but that doesn't mean there can't be a happy ending - it all depends on how you look at life.
Between the Tides
Price: Free! Words: 77,790. Language: English. Published: March 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Phil Sampson gets more than he bargained for when he finds himself being driven out to view a house by the chilly, taciturn estate agent, Adrienne Divine. There's something about her that unsettles him, something unsettling about the house too. As for the effect he has on Adreinne,... well, least said the better.
The Last Guests of La Maison Du Lac
Price: Free! Words: 162,950. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Writer Richard Graves arrives at La Maison du Lac, a remote hotel in the Swiss Alps, where he hopes to find the inspiration to begin the most important story of his career. It's here he meets the enigmatic Gabrielle, a beautiful Frenchwoman rebelling against her over-protective parents. As he comes to know more about Gabrielle he realises he must rescue her,....
The Singing Loch
Price: Free! Words: 85,320. Language: British English. Published: November 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
(4.00 from 1 review)
Disillusioned city worker, Scott Matthews, is drawn into a dangerous corporate conspiracy. From the greed of '80's London, to the austere beauty of Western Scotland, Scott unravels an enigma dating back centuries, while gradually falling under the spell of the mysterious and forbidden Singing Loch. Here he discovers love, enlightenment, and ultimately a truth more startling than legend.
The Lavender and the Rose
Price: Free! Words: 200,680. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
A man is walking alone at dusk in the remote hills of Westmorland, an ancient county in the North of England. Coming down to a quiet mountain tarn, he discovers a woman, dressed entirely in Victorian costume, apparently waiting for him,...
In Durleston Wood
Price: Free! Words: 92,860. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Richard Hunter discovers his childhood haunt, Durleston wood, now hides a secret: a mysterious woman, kept hidden there as the property of a villain – or so she says. As he learns more of her fate, and her seemingly insane desire to transfer her ownership to him, he tells himself this is the last thing he wants, while wondering if it isn’t actually the one thing he needs more than anything.
The Road From Langholm Avenue
Price: Free! Words: 92,480. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Literature » Literary
A story of unrequited love, of unexpected love, of love lost, and found again. This is a free full length novel, not a taster or a teaser.
Push Hands
Price: Free! Words: 94,960. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
A story of love, life and Tai Chi. Phil and Penny were made for each other - the only problem is they are married to other people. A free full length indy novel, not a taster or a teaser.